Hastings boss wants large Pilot Field crowd

Hastings United manager Chris Agutter is hoping to see as many people at The Pilot Field as possible as the football club seeks to end the season with a nine-match unbeaten run.

Agutter’s side will wrap up its 2017/18 Bostik League Division One South campaign with a visit from Sittingbourne tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is 3pm.

Hastings United full-back Sam Beale in action against South Park on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United full-back Sam Beale in action against South Park on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White

The club is also offering free admission to anybody who produces a ticket at the turnstiles from last weekend’s Hastings United Veterans versus Tottenham Hotspur Legends charity match.

For everyone else, admission has been reduced to £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. Under-16s will get in free.

Speaking after the 2-0 victory at home to South Park on Tuesday night, Agutter said: “I just said to the players get your family down here, get your friends down here, get as big a crowd as possible here at The Pilot Field and give that support a good send-off.

“It’s important we finish the season on the right note so everyone can be excited about what I think will be a good (2018/19) season for the club, where we can have a proper go at it again.”

Davide Rodari scores Hastings United's opening goal in their 2-0 win against South Park. Picture courtesy Scott White

Davide Rodari scores Hastings United's opening goal in their 2-0 win against South Park. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings are second in the form table for the last eight games having won six and drawn two, and they are almost certain to finish eighth.

Sittingbourne will finish 14th, but they will arrive at The Pilot Field on a high following last weekend’s win over leaders Carshalton Athletic.

“It’s really important that we’re not complacent, we treat the game the right way, we treat it as the first game of the season and not the last, we go about our business properly, then we rest after the final whistle once we’ve got the three points,” continued Agutter.

“But if we play like that (against South Park) and are complacent, it will be a tough game to be honest.”

Agutter said he had mixed feelings after the South Park game, in which goals by Davide Rodari and Ollie Rowe gave Hastings a 10th win in their last 14 home league matches. For a report on that match, click here.

“I said to the players before the game ‘let’s make sure that afterwards I don’t get it in the ear that it looks like an end of season game or that’s the general feeling’. Unfortunately second half I thought we got quite complacent and it almost became too easy.

“First half I thought we were very good, played at a good tempo, followed the plan, moved the ball really quickly, when we broke down we got after it quickly, won the ball back high and created loads of chances. We got a goal at a really important time (just before half time).

“Second half it almost became too easy and the players got bored, a bit complacent and before you know it you start giving them three or four decent opportunities.

“Mixed feelings really because we won 2-0, got a clean sheet, improved on the first result (a 1-1 draw in January’s reverse fixture) and were no doubt the better side, but I just thought we need to be a lot more ruthless than we were.

“This is the reason we’re not in the play-offs. We’ve got a good record against the top teams; it’s these games where we drop points.

“I think it’s just a reflection of where we’re at with the younger players. I think complacency, lack of experience, a bit of naivety; all those things add up to dropping valuable points.

“We had opportunities to put them to bed and when you don’t put them to bed, it becomes a bit of basketball really towards the end. We won 2-0, but there’s loads to work on.”

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